Sociology

18 posts

An Interview With Author Mary Roach

“Helen Duncan is my favorite. Huge, chain-smoking woman who used to swoon and occasionally pee herself in the frenzy of spirit possession. Helen had the scientists stumped. She’d produce ectoplasm … even though the researchers had frisked her and done a cavity search prior to her entering the séance chamber. Turned out she was a talented regurgitator.”

Book Review: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

In this profound and spirited work, Pinker champions the civilizing process that, according to his detailed research, has enhanced the cause of peace, decreased the scale of violence and enabled peoples of widely separated nations and ethnic groups to realize their common humanity. Using a mass of scientific data and an intensive reading of history and current events, Pinker makes the case that Planet Earth is becoming a more Peaceable Kingdom.

Book Review: Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones

But wherever it originated, the word conjures up an instant picture of young people in cheap sportswear, swigging alcopops, brandishing knives and selling each other drugs whilst getting their fifteen-year-old girlfriends pregnant. They are a favourite subject for the right-wing tabloids, and where the term “chav” is found, the words “feral”, “benefits” and “underclass” will often be somewhere in the vicinity, not to mention “lifestyles funded by your taxes!”

Book Review: Fun Inc.: Why Gaming Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century by Tom Chatfield

One element of the gaming industry that will surprise some readers is the billions of dollars made by “gold farmers,” people who play online games such as World of Warcraft, and then sell the loot acquired in the game for real-world dollars to other gamers. China alone is estimated to have over a million of these gold farmer players working right now.

Book Review: Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch

Voodoo Histories isn’t an attempt to tell everyone to chill out and stop worrying about what people in authority are up to. Rather, it attempts the trickier task of explaining why a set of conspiracy theories do not hold water on close examination, and accounting for how they differ from traditional historical explanations – what is specifically “conspiracist” about them.

School Rampage Killers: A Psychological Portrait

The shooter had convinced himself that killing was gutsy and masculine. Based on his misreadings of Nietzsche and from repeated viewings of the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers, he had convinced himself that the killer was a kind of superior being, and that killing constituted a form of “Natural Selection.”